Court turns down N2 Wild Coast Road appeal

2019-04-30 17:21
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) on Tuesday welcomed a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that affirmed its decision to proceed with the construction of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway.

The court denied an appeal against an earlier judgment, where Judge Cynthia Pretorius found in Sanral's favour and confirmed the validity of the public participation processes during the environmental impact assessment.

The processes included public meetings, imbizos and social media communication.

"We are happy that the court recognised that the public participation process exceeded the legal requirements. It also recognised that the decision to choose and approve the final route was thorough and transparent," said Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona.

The proposed project extends between the N2 Gonubie Interchange, near East London, and the N2 Isipingo Interchange, south of Durban, according to the National Road Agency (NRA) website.

It would be around 85km shorter than the current route and would be up to three hours faster, especially for heavy freight vehicles, according to Traveller24.

The NRA website states that the region would be "well served by the development of a road system to encourage tourism and open up the region to economic opportunities".

However, the project has faced resistance from different communities.

City Press reported that coastal villagers had protested against the construction for many years but that Sanral forged ahead by saying it would alleviate high unemployment with full-time jobs during the build.

Pondo Land villagers approached the court for relief because they believed the road would harm the environment and destroy their way of life, according to The Citizen.

Some residents reportedly complained in a court challenge that they had not been consulted over the R9bn project and that their issue was with the removal of graves and compensation for having to relocate.

Mona said on Tuesday that they respected the views of people and would continue its consultation during the design and implementation phases.

"We recognise that there are a minority of people who are opposed to the project – mostly because of unconfirmed reports about an unconnected mining project."

Xolobeni community members believed the actual motive to build the new N2 route was to facilitate titanium mining, according to Daily Maverick.

"It is important to note that none of the local protests that have recently been experienced were aimed at opposition to the N2WCR project itself," said Mona.

"There are issues concerning the composition of the project liaison committees, employment, sub-contracting and local suppliers that are currently being resolved with stakeholders."

He said the high court judgment confirmed the approved route was the best available alternative based on a combination of social, environmental and economic factors.

Those affected were compensated for the loss of land and all structures within the road reserve were relocated and rebuilt.

Read more on:    sanral  |  transport
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